Discipline: Chemistry and Chemical Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
Leyte Winfield - Spelman College
A community-based element was merged with an interactive engagement learning environment in the organic chemistry course. The learning community was established by requiring chemistry and biochemistry majors to enroll in the same section of general chemistry and subsequently organic chemistry (courses designated as majors only). This allowed freshmen entering the major in a given year to matriculate through the first four semesters in a structured learning community. For the organic chemistry course, the cohort was comprised of 25 to 30 students with less than 5 of these students being from majors outside of chemistry and biochemistry. The majors only organic chemistry course infuses inquiry-based and computational exercises into a flipped learning format. It was envisioned that such a learning environment would enhance students’ cognitive ability and confidence in utilizing chemical concepts. The course highlights an integrated peer learning structure with mediated learning strategies that extend beyond the classroom through question and answer blogs and online office hours. In this way, the course design takes advantage of the Community of Inquiry Framework. Guiding questions for the evaluation of this learning environment where: 1) How do students actively engage in learning during and beyond the lecture period, 2) How do students conceptualize chemical knowledge, and 3) What is the impact of the learning environment on students’ ability to master concepts?
The presentation will provide an overview of course activities. In addition, it will highlight the learning behaviors and outcomes of the two cohorts in the first semester organic chemistry course and the activities which students found most beneficial as a correlation to grade outcome.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This investigation has been funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation HBCU-Up Targeted Infusion Project Award No. HRD-1332575.
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,